On Sunday 15 June this year, some of the most famous faces in tennis will gather at London's Queen's Club, Birmingham's Edgbaston Priory Club and Eastbourne's Devonshire Park for three exhibition matches to raise money in a second Rally against Cancer, the Rally for Bally.
With Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins leading the charge with their fellow players and the rest of the British Tennis community behind them, all proceeds from the Rally for Bally will go towards the Royal Marsden Cancer charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.
“We are determined to do everything we can to raise as much money as possible for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to fight against cancer and for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which means so much to Bally," said Hutchins, the new Tournament Director at Queen's. "As soon as the news of Elena’s diagnosis came out, everyone in British tennis, and indeed around the world, wanted to help, and that is shown by how quickly all the British players and players from around the world, including one of the all-time greats in Martina, wanted to be part of it. We will have all three of our recent Wimbledon champions - Andy and Jamie Murray, and Jonny Marray, one at each venue, and I hope everyone will get behind this cause in just the same way as last year.”
The three mixed doubles exhibitions will feature Murray and Hutchins at Queen's, Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray in Birmingham, and Greg Rusedski and Jonny Marray in Eastbourne, likely to be ably supported by Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Jo Konta, Baltacha's former Fed Cup team mates.
"Everyone in tennis knows and loves Bally and wants to help her, and sadly everyone's life is touched by cancer at some stage, whether personally or through friends and family," said Judy Murray, Baltacha's former captain. "The Royal Marsden helps so many people in that situation. Bally set up her charity to help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to play tennis, which says a lot about her. It will mean the world to her to know that is being supported as well."
"Elena has been a remarkable competitor at Wimbledon over the years, and our thoughts will be with her as she battles this disease," commented AELTC Chief Executive Richard Lewis.
“Cancer is an opponent that we all must fight against. My thoughts are with Elena and what she must be going through at this time," said Navratilova, who herself battled breast cancer. "It is great that the tennis world is coming together to support her, and to rally against cancer.”
Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden, now the official charity of the Aegon Championships at Queen's, said: “I am delighted that British Tennis and The Queen's Club is once again coming together to support The Royal Marsden. Their support enables us to continue to provide world-class cancer care for our patients, and cancer patients across the UK.”
To donate now, visit www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally or, text "EBAL60 £10" to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation via your mobile phone.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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